I don't know how much Houston Texans' head coach Bill O'Brien cares about the opinions his former players have about him. My guess is that he cares mostly, if not solely, about the opinion of the 90 or so guys in the current locker room (assuming he cares what his players think of him, which I believe he does, to some degree). I bring all of this up to say that there is a former Texan and current Pro Bowler who recently had some not-very-flattering things to say about his experience under the O'Brien regime.
You all remember Brandon Brooks, right? Former Texans guard who left in free agency after the 2015 season (and whom the Texans cataclysmically replaced with Jeff Allen in free agency that offseason)? As you all probably know, Brooks has gone on to do wonderful things on the field in Philly, including being named to the Pro Bowl and being a small part of a Super Bowl winning franchise.
As we've learned from players like Eagles tackle Lane Johnson, this Super Bowl win has sort of emboldened all of the current Eagles into becoming de facto experts on how an NFL franchise should be run and just how much "fun" should be had along the way, because apparently it's your birthright to have your job be "fun" every day.
And that brings us to Brooks, who recently did an interview with Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation, an Eagles' blog, and Brooks had some unkind things to say about O'Brien and his 2014 and 2015 seasons with the Texans. First, when asked about the Patriots' way of going about their business, Brooks reminded everyone that he was basically with what he feels was Belichick Lite his last two years in Houston:
"It’s crazy that people haven’t known this. It’s been this way for like a decade. You’ve seen— Reggie Wayne did it. He retired. He went [to New England] for a training camp and retired. [BLEEP] is not fun there. I was under the same regime in Houston. I almost retired. [BLEEP] was miserable, every day. Every day."
Poor Brandon Brooks. Football was hard in Houston. He likes game rooms, and hanging out with the fellas!
"You see this in here, man? How we’re all hanging out? The game room in there? There’s none of that, man. It’s like you just come in and be a robot."
Then it got real. O'Brien came in and tried to re-stamp a team that was 2-14 the year before, and Brooks would have none of it:
"I’ll put it this way. I was going into my third year in Houston. O’Brien had just come in. And, you know, players who’ve made Pro Bowls, All-Pro [teams], whatever, they had their pictures on the wall and stuff. It was down the hallway as you go to lunch, you get to see how the players handle their business. When he came in, man, all those pictures were taken down. TVs in the cafeteria were off. He would never tell you what to say to the media, but he would always be like, ‘I can’t tell you what to say to the media. But some things that you might want to mention is like: I’m here to do my job. Stuff like that. You know what I mean? So eventually you get the same answers from all of the guys, you start realizing what’s going on."
Full disclosure — I do hate how O'Brien tries to shape the way guys talk to the media. As for the pictures and the TV's, I would say "get over it, Brandon." But we can see where Brooks is going with all of this — he likes friendly coaches! LIKE KUBES!
"I came in [as a rookie] under [Gary] Kubiak, who was just an older version of Doug [Pederson], then I went to O’Brien, who was Belichick, and then I came back to Doug, who’s like Kubes, so for me, man, [BLEEP] was great. Like, I cannot tell you how much better this is than it was down there. Like, it’s just night and day."
Hey, to each their own — Brooks likes his football with a side of Ms. Pac Man and soft serve ice cream. Some guys (like Deshaun Watson, for example) are fine with how O'Brien coaches. Also, one quick reminder that Brandon Brooks has spewed his share of poor takes this offseason. First, this one, after the Texans released Derek Newton, who has two bad knees and who was paid $2 million by the Texans to rehab said knees last season:
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Then there was this one, in which Brooks made it sound like he was making a big sacrifice by taking all of his salary for 2018 up front to open cap space for Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles:
Each year, typically, one of the Super Bowl participants backslides significantly. Here's hoping this year that it's the Eagles, just so we can see how much fun the game room is when they're 7-9.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.